The Oregon women’s basketball team fell to Denver team 73-62 and are currently at the bottom of the Pac-12 standings — still winless.
Oregon headed into the Sunday afternoon showdown expecting a tough game. With all of the injuries sustained by the club, the teams was only able to dress seven players. Some played out of position, and others were getting extended minutes they were not used to.
Both teams performed lackluster to start the game with the first basket not coming until over two minutes in. Oregon (0-6) got out to a 5-0 lead, but that was the largest they would see the entire game. About halfway through the second half, Denver just started to hit more shots than Oregon. Neither team played especially well but Denver (3-3) hit 40 percent of their first half shots while the Ducks only hit 26 percent.
“We’re in the process of getting better, and hopefully next Sunday will be a turnaround,” Oregon head coach Paul Westhead said after the game. “We did a good job defensively on their better offensive player Van Riper-Rose. We had an offensive issue; we just didn’t generate enough points. We had some very makeable plays, especially in the first half, and we didn’t convert.
That seemed to sum up the game in its entirety. The Ducks outrebounded Denver 55-39, got more points in the paint, had more blocks, but just couldn’t consistently execute offensively.
“For us, one thing leads to another,” Westhead said of the offensive flow. “If we can get better speed in our point execution we’ll get even more open shots, better looks, so the pace is important to us. I thought Jordan and Devyn (Galland) did a decent-to-good job. Neither one of them had the game experience that (injured guard) Laura (Stanulis) had, to sense things and read things, and they are kind of in a learning process but they did a respectable job.”
One glaring issue for the Ducks was the play of newly anointed point guard, Jordan Loera. Usually one of the Ducks better players, Loera went 0-10 in her first start at the point. She did an adequate job running the offense, managing only three turnovers on four assists, but in a game where her team needed her to step up and be an offensive leader, she fell short.
Turning point. Oregon started off the second half well, cutting a 37-29 halftime lead to four with over 15 minutes to play, but were unable to sustain momentum long enough to fully climb out of their first-half hole. The lead never shrank past four, and got as large as 13 in the final two minutes.
Through out the game Oregon passed the ball down low to players with established position and the close in shots that usually would fall bounced off of the rim.
“I didn’t really feel fatigued,” Danielle Love said of the poor execution. “I guess there were a few spurts where I was all over the place, but I didn’t really feel like fatigue was that big of an issue. We just didn’t knock down our shots. We didn’t make up close shots that we needed to make. I think that was more of an issue tonight.”
On thing coach Westhead and the Ducks can hang their hats on is the play of sophomore Megan Carpenter, who had career highs in both points (19) and rebounds (17), both game highs.
“I told her after the game that she played amazing and fearless,” Love said of Carpenter, who was modest in her postgame interview. “She was relaxed with her shot. I told her we need that every game.”
On the horizon. The ongoing battle to win a singular game continues next Sunday at 2 p.m. at Matthew Knight Arena, when the Ducks will take on the 3-3 Nevada Wolf Pack.